Looking forward to 2020 and what it means for our introducers

Since its formation in 2012, our broker channel and introducer panel has continued to be integral in our success. This community has supported £1.3 billion of lending over 15,000 loans through Funding Circle, helping numerous businesses and unlocking thousands of jobs as a result. In turn, our registered introducers have grown their businesses too. 

We recently announced the promotion of Jeremy Crinall to the Head of Broker. Since joining in 2014, Jeremy has worked as a Business Development Manager (BDM) and as Regional Manager for Southern England. He has worked closely with all the team in their respective sub regions and is looking forward to using his 13 years of experience in the financial industry to assist the growth and development of the team, their panel of introducers, and building on those relationships even further. 

Jeremy has big plans for 2020 and sees three key areas to focus on for the next stage of success:

Service

Our team consider all our introducers as long term partners. We see them as relationships for life. We’re going to focus our efforts on improving the experience of all our introducers and their clients. We’re going to be focusing on optimising all touch points for our introducers and their clients and getting to know all our introducers on a greater level. This will enable our team to continue to go even further to provide them with the excellent service that they deserve.

Technology 

Technology will continue to be a pivotal focus for us and the team as we turn into the new year. We’ll continue to strive  to provide best-in-class solutions and to provide our introducers with even quicker decisions. We’re planning on making a lot of improvements across the business, which will ultimately benefit the broker channel and in turn, the service we’re able to provide.

People

As our plans for lending continue to grow in 2020, we want to look to build the team and further invest in our people. We strive to recruit the best individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to ensure we can provide our introducers with an excellent service. We’ll also be looking to develop our existing team members. Both Business Development Executives and Business Development Managers receive continuous training and specialised courses, ensuring we have the right people in the right places. . 

2020 is going to be another amazing year for the entire introducer community and we want to remain at the heart of that at Funding Circle. We’re looking forward to the future and working with our introducers as we move towards 2020. We recognise the importance you will play as we continue to build a better financial world.

Loan Purposes we can help with

At Funding Circle we want to help fund all of your clients’ business needs. Every business has unique requirements and will be at different stages in their journey, so our loans can be used for a huge variety of needs.  Some of the most popular include:

Working capital – Working capital is the lifeblood of any business. Healthy cash flow allows business owners to pursue new opportunities and win more business. It saves them time, gives them greater peace of mind, and the breathing space to make the best long term decisions for them.

Refurbishment of premises – From office space to shop fronts, refurbishing business premises can be transformative. We can provide finance for refurbishment and spread the repayments over 5 years.

Hiring staff – The entire process of taking on extra staff can be costly and time consuming. Taking finance can allow  your clients to either outsource this process or conduct it in house. We’ve helped thousands of businesses for this very purpose. 

Buying new equipment/machinery – Equipment and key pieces of machinery can breakdown unexpectedly or become out of date. Often, this can be a significant outlay and cause delays in production. We can provide finance for business owners to purchase equipment and machinery. All our loans are unsecured (backed by a personal guarantee) so this means your client would own the equipment from the outset.

Deposits for property purchases – Business owners will often need full deposits before being able to apply for commercial mortgages. We can provide the funds for this, which means your clients can go to their bank, secure the full mortgage and then settle in full with us. They can repay in full with no early settlement or exit fees, making the process ideal for this scenario.

Stock purchases – Many of your clients will go through busier and quieter periods. It is important that they are prepared and can take advantage of busier times. We can help with providing finance for large stock purchases, which can provide your clients with peace of mind and often reduce overall costs.

Tax funding – Tax bills can creep up on business owners and often leave large unforseen dents in their cash flow. We can provide finance to cover the bill and spread cost out over up to 60 months. 

Funding a new project or product – For your clients, it is imperative that they stay commercially competitive and come up with new ideas to engage their current client base and attract new customers.

Refinancing existing debt – We also offer loans to refinance existing business debt. As long as the debt is registered under the business rather than anyone personally we can look to consolidate that into one repayment. This can often be easier to maintain and can reduce your monthly outgoings, assisting with cash flow.

What can’t we cover?

There are a few loan purposes that we are unable to help with: 

Refinancing of personal debt – We’re unable to provide finance for the consolidation of personal debt. Even if the debt was taken out for the purpose of benefiting the business, if it  is under a personal name we’ll be unable to help.

Onwards lending – We can’t help if the funds are going to be passed outside the business that has applied to either an individual or another business. The finance we provide must stay within the business and directly benefit the business is applying.

Speculative ventures that aren’t related to the core activity of the business – We’ll need to see how the loan purpose will benefit the business. It cannot deviate too far from the core activity of the business. For example, if your client owns a bakery but wants to expand into I.T. sales, this wouldn’t be something we could provide finance for.

Are you a looking for fast, affordable funding solution for your clients now?

Get in touch with our Partnerships Team at ukpartners@fundingcircle.com or give them a call on 0203 308 9708.

Meet the Credit Assessment team

At Funding Circle we want to help you earn attractive, stable returns by lending to small businesses across the UK. Of course, one of the key aspects of achieving this is having a robust methodology to carefully assess the businesses you’ll be lending too. To give you a bit more insight into how this process works, we caught up with Henry, Fay and Edward in the Credit Assessment team to ask about their role at Funding Circle.

First, can you tell us where your team sits in the overall funding process?

 

Henry – When a business applies for a loan online, there are several checks that happen automatically. For example we pull information from Companies House to check how old the business is, and we’ll run credit checks with credit bureaus like Experian. Some businesses will not meet our criteria straightaway, the rest will pass onto a full assessment.

To assess an application, our Loan Analyst team will collect all the information we need. This includes their full credit report, business bank account data, details on the business shareholders and financial accounts with profit and loss information. They’ll then use our bespoke internal risk models to give a risk grade to each business.

They then pass that information on to us. We look at their application, their credit score, other external data sources and all the other information available to us. We then use our internal credit criteria to decide whether we can make them an offer.

When it comes to making a decision, what do you factor in?

 

Edward – There are hundreds of data points that go into every assessment. Naturally key factors include the financial health of the business, their debt history, and how much they can afford to pay back each month. 

It’s also important that they are asking for money for the right reasons. We support a wide variety of loan purposes, but there are some that we don’t support. 

Fay – It’s not always about approve or decline, we take a holistic view of the business. We look at the potential risks. We want to give a quick decision to business owners, but not at the expense of carrying out a serious assessment. All cases get looked at with due diligence, if it’s more complex and takes more time, that’s what we’ll do. 

You mentioned that you use internal models, how are these created?

 

Fay – Our Risk team uses huge amounts of data and cutting-edge techniques to develop our assessment models. They are constantly updating them too, feeding in more data, adapting to wider economic conditions and so on.

We sit right in the middle of investors and the businesses they lend to. We want to help investors get the best returns possible, and, if they meet our criteria, help small businesses get finance at a price that’s fair to them. Our risk models help strike that balance. 

Henry – The way I see it, the Risk team are like the FA and we’re the referees – they set out the rules, we apply them. 

How much experience does the team have?

 

Fay – Across the assessment teams we have decades of experience from a wide variety of financial institutions. For example I was previously at another fintech company and before that was in asset finance for 5 years. 

Henry – I joined Funding Circle 5 years ago and have worked my way up in the Credit Assessment team.

Edward – I’ve previously worked at Deloitte in corporate tax and at a payments company. We all chip in and help each other too, especially with the more complex cases. There’s tonnes of experience in the team we can all draw on. 

 

 

Do you have any other responsibilities?

 

Fay – Obviously our main role is assessing loan applications, but we also run or support other projects to help us improve or adapt to external changes. I worked on a project 

regarding the legislation around Company House, how it was changing and how that would impact our process. 

Edward – I look at how the team operates, what are our strengths and where we can improve. 

Henry – I attend meetings with our brokers. We have long-standing relationships with many of them, and I join to answer any questions so they can refer the right businesses to us.  

What’s the culture like on the team?

 

Henry – We have a really open working environment, no one is tucked away in an office. If we have questions or need help, we have many people from different backgrounds, different experience levels and different areas of expertise, and there’s an attitude where everyone knows they can get advice when they need it.

Edward – There’s openness and respect too. A new joiner is happy to go and ask someone with 20 years experience because they want you to learn. 

Fay – We’ve got a really well mixed team. There’s people who have been through the Funding Circle journey and have worked their way up, and there’s people that have joined from different backgrounds. We’re not afraid to share our different perspectives. 

Edward – Breakfast is important too – we all go for toast together in the morning. 

Fay –  I get in trouble sometimes because I go earlier…

How does it feel to work for a company that’s helping businesses and investors? 

 

Edward: It’s really cool. I saw a shop the other day and I thought ‘Aha, I know that business!’ because they had been a customer of ours. You can see the difference you’re making. When working at some other businesses, customers are just treated like numbers on a system.

Fay: With Funding Circle we’re having a wider impact for small businesses and we’re filling that gap in the market for investments. It’s really rewarding. 

That’s amazing, thank you for taking the time to speak to us!

 

World Photography Day

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography. We all love a good photo, whether we’re looking at it in a gallery or whether we’re scrolling past it on Instagram; the art of photography is one to be honoured. We’ve chosen to honour photography by putting together a list of our favourite photos from members of the Funding Circle team and photos of businesses we’ve worked with.

Funding Circle’s very own Inti Libermanares, describes himself as a photographer and says what he loves most about photography is the possibility to capture a moment in an artistic and creative way. He loves being able to convey feelings out of spontaneous situations and his work above does just that.

 

Taken while travelling before he joined Funding Circle, wordsmith Robert McCorquodale says the photo pictures a single flamingo on the edge of a volcanic lake, near to the salt flats in Bolivia. This almost looks like a painting if you don’t look too closely!

 

Our resident design master, Alex Santos, makes it very clear that this is not from Game of Thrones and that it’s a hidden beach with mighty difficult access called ‘Praia da Ursa’, or the Bear beach, in Portugal near Cape Roca. Kings Landing or not, we think this photo is stunning.

 

Family owned business Perky Blenders, is in the art of speciality coffee, with five locations across the east side of London, these guys are sharing the coffee love with as many people as possible. These photos were taken when we took a trip down to one of their shops and were lucky enough to watch them do their magic.

 

Located in Redcar, on the Yorkshire coast, Yorkshire Gelato Company pride themselves in taking desserts to the next level and creating beautiful works of art to finish any meal using the finest ingredients. As you can see form the photo above, they really love their desserts!

 

The Great Yorkshire Shop hand picks fine goods exclusively from local independent makers, artists and designers. Based in Leeds, their store is bursting with amazing creative gift items and you can feel that the owner really loves what he does. The photos above were taken during our previous visit and we loved it there.

Share your favourite pieces of photography with us on social media at @FundingCircleUK

Get John Lewis vouchers when you add funds and lend it to businesses

For a limited time only, you’ll receive gift vouchers when you add £15,000 or more to your Funding Circle account! Transfer funds into your account today and you could treat yourself to an Apple Watch, Sonos Smart Speaker, Amazon Echo or whatever you need with John Lewis gift vouchers.

What value John Lewis vouchers can I claim?

The amount you receive depends on how much you transfer into your account:

  • Add £50,000 to get £400
  • Add £30,000 to get £250
  • Add £20,000 to get £150
  • Add £15,000 to get £100

What do I need to do?

Firstly, you need to register your account for the promotion. Simply login to your account, go to the Transfer in page and enter your email address on the pop up window.

Then you need to add funds to your account between 21st of February and 31st of March 2019 to get the voucher amount you want. On March 31st, we’ll look at the amount added to your account during this period minus any withdrawals. This will determine the vouchers you’ll qualify for. If you have both ISA and Classic accounts, we’ll look at the amount added between them.

You also need to have lending switched on and keep those funds lent out until 21st of June 2019. If you withdraw funds (from either your Classic or ISA account) you may receive a lower voucher amount or no longer qualify. We’ll then send your vouchers out to your registered email address. For full terms and conditions click here.

Register and transfer funds now

Can I use my ISA and Classic accounts?

You can only claim one gift per person. If you have only an ISA account and have used up your ISA allowance, you can either transfer existing ISAs you hold from other providers, or open a Classic account.

If you have both an ISA and Classic account registered to the same email address, you can split the extra funds between the two. However, if you withdraw from one and transfer to the other, you won’t qualify for a gift. We’ll look at the net amount added between the two.

Can I transfer an ISA from an existing provider?

You can also transfer existing ISAs from other providers. In order for your ISA transfer to qualify, you need to fill out the ISA transfer form in your Funding Circle account between 21st of February and 31st of March 2019. The ISA transfer will need to be complete, with funds distributed to your Funding Circle account and lending switched on, by midnight on 21st of June 2019.

Register and transfer funds now

For more information call us on 020 7401 9111 or contactus@fundingcircle.com. Terms and conditions apply.

By lending to businesses your capital is at risk. Not covered by Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your tax-free entitlement depends on your circumstances and may change.

Enjoy lending!

The Funding Circle team

John Lewis is not a participant in or sponsors of this promotion. All related John Lewis logos are trademarks of John Lewis Partnership plc 2013.

Looking back on the last three months: October – December 2018 review

Happy New Year! As we look forward to what 2019 has in store, we wanted to take a step back and celebrate what investors like you have achieved. As part of this, last week we updated our statistics page with our lending and performance figures up to 31st December 2018. Read on to find out more.

You’ve helped a record number of small businesses grow

Between October and December last year, investors lent £680 million to small businesses across the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands; bringing the total lending for 2018 to approximately £2.3 billion.

In the UK alone, more than £440 million was lent to UK small businesses between October and December. Alongside 79,000 investors, in 2018 you lent more than £1.5 billion to UK businesses. When you remove repayments received this year from that figure—what we call net lending—you have provided approximately £725 million of new funding to businesses all over the UK, an incredible achievement!

More of our key lending figures can be seen below:

You help all types of businesses from all over the UK

By lending through Funding Circle you make a huge difference to all kinds of businesses throughout the UK. With your help they’re able to grow, create jobs, develop new products and support local communities. Below is a breakdown of the sector and location of the UK businesses currently accessing finance through the Funding Circle platform.

 

An update from our Chief Risk Officer

In December our Chief Risk Officer, Jerome Le Luel, provided his insight into how the macroeconomic environment has impacted loan performance in the markets Funding Circle operates in, and what we have done to help ensure you continue to earn attractive returns. In the UK, loans taken out since 2012 are projected to deliver returns of between 4.7 – 7.3% per year, after fees and bad debt.*

Although the economic environment for small businesses in the UK remains strong, the outlook for consumer credit in the UK has worsened in recent years. This has impacted a small population of loans in our higher risk bands who can be more susceptible to shifting trends in the consumer credit environment. These headwinds are reflected in the projected returns for our 2016 and 2017 cohorts, the most recent of which can be seen on our statistics page. You can read Jerome’s update in full here.

We’re excited for the year ahead

We’re looking forward to what 2019 will bring. Following our public listing on the London Stock Exchange last year, we believe we’re in a strong position to help you lend to more small businesses than ever before, earning an attractive return while helping the UK economy to grow. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk, and your funds aren’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*Projected returns for loans taken out in the UK between 2012-2018, as of 31st December 2018. The projected annualised return shows the return, after fees and bad debt, that loans are currently estimated to achieve. Loans are shown by the year they were taken out. The return is calculated by combining the actual annualised return received to date, and our latest return estimates, including expected recoveries, for the remaining term of loans that have not yet been fully repaid. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Introducing an improved and simplified Summary page

At Funding Circle, we want you to have a clear and simple view of your portfolio. As part of this, we have redesigned your Summary page and are excited to announce this is now live.

We have redesigned the Summary page to provide a snapshot of your account, with more detailed information easily available. The video guide below provides an overview of how you can navigate around the new pages to access all the information you need.

 

Providing a clear view of how your account is performing

Previously, we showed investors three different returns: gross yield, an annualised net return and an estimated fully diversified return. We have received feedback that showing three returns can be confusing, so to make this simpler you will now only see one return in your account, an annualised return.

The annualised return represents how your account is currently performing and is calculated after fees and bad debt. This links directly to your investment earnings and will help you to evaluate how your account has performed since you started lending through Funding Circle. The return is calculated in the same way as the previous annualised net return.

It’s worth remembering that your annualised return will change over time. Data at Funding Circle shows bad debt rarely occurs evenly over an investment period, and is typically concentrated during certain periods of a loan’s life. This means returns generally will dip, then begin to increase as recoveries arrive. You can read more about how returns change over time on our blog.

We have withdrawn the accrued interest figure

Your accrued interest is the interest that has built up, but not yet been paid, since the last payment by a borrower. As this is not money that has been actually received, this figure has now been withdrawn to provide a simpler view of your portfolio total. It is still possible to view the amount of interest due for each loan part via your repayment schedule.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

The Funding Circle team

VIDEO. Three thriving Scottish businesses, thanks to your support

The patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew was known for being strong, sociable and fair. Characteristics that Scots are proud to stand for, they celebrate St Andrew’s Day with acts of kindness and good deeds on the 30th November each year.

Whether you’re dancing a ceilidh, hiking around Loch Lomond or just knocking up some tatties and neeps, it’s a day to enjoy all things tartan. Plus as an official holiday, you get the day off work if you’re north of the border.

To join the celebration, we visited three thriving Scottish businesses: The Good Spirits Company, Alex McDougall Mowers and Highland Wi-Fi. All three businesses have been able to go further, thanks to the fantastic support of Funding Circle investors.

In this video you’ll meet Calum, Alex & Shirley and Matthew. They talk about why they’re proud to be a Scottish business and how support from Funding Circle has helped them achieve their business goals.

Want to lend to more businesses like this?

To help even more businesses get the funds they need to grow, sign in to your account and add more funds today. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

£1 billion lent through our Introducer team

2018 has been an incredible year at Funding Circle. A few weeks after listing on the London Stock Exchange, we’re proud to announce that our Introducer team has reached the milestone of £1 billion lent since it was formed in 2012.

To mark this occasion, we spoke to Luke Hultquist and Stuart Sterling from Halo Corporate Finance, one of the first introducers to work with us when we launched the Introducer channel.

Find out why Luke and Stuart choose to regularly introduce clients to Funding Circle in the video below. Our Head of Broker, Tom Shave, also discusses what’s coming up in 2019 and reveals the long term vision for the broker channel.

As our introducer network continues to grow across the UK, we’ll be able to help even more businesses access finance, supporting the economy and creating jobs.

Are you a commercial finance broker looking for a fast, affordable funding solution for your clients?

Get in touch with our dedicated Introducer team at introducer@fundingcircle.com or give us a call on 020 3667 2208

Lending directly to small businesses to create entrepreneurship scholarships

The University of Huddersfield has lent to over 2,000 UK small businesses through Funding Circle, thanks to a partnership where the University became the first to lend directly to businesses through a lending platform. Launched in 2013, the tie-up has created opportunities for students through entrepreneurship scholarships. Professor Bob Cryan, Vice-Chancellor at the University said: “I was originally drawn to Funding Circle because I felt that the platform’s innovative approach to investments and small businesses was a strong match to the ethos of the University.” 

Four years on, the University continues to lead the way in this area, having committed a further £1 million to the programme in 2014 after the initial investment of £100,000. One of the local businesses that has benefitted from the University’s lending is Ushiwear, a British clothing brand launched by husband-and-wife team Neil and Jilly Kapusi. The passionate duo were able to build on their success and go for growth after accessing finance through the platform.

Neil Kapusi, co-founder and COO of Ushiwear

“The capital injection from the University through Funding Circle has allowed Ushiwear to grow exponentially. We’re now currently in the process of a complete brand overhaul with everything from a new website, to a new shop, to new product lines. We’ve been able to invest in new equipment, boost our advertising and marketing and expand our team.” said Neil.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
Lend alongside 75,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?
More than 30,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle. You could boost your cash flow, refurbish premises, hire staff and much more. Check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Read between the lines: Saving for your summer holiday

We regularly bring you a column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. In his last piece, Simon looked at the cost of Christmas.

If you’re like me, the depressing weather at this time of year will make you want to have something good to look forward to – a holiday in the sun! And knowing that in a few months you could be sitting poolside sipping a cocktail, or exploring that old ruin with the sun in your eyes, is a good way to help cope with the shorter nights and rainy days.

But assuming you want – like me – to have a fantastic summer holiday to look forward to, the question is, how to pay for it? The easiest and most convenient way is to simply put it on the credit card. You can worry about paying for it later but, if you’ve been sensible, you’ll have a piece of plastic that gives you cashback or loyalty points. If you’re splashing out a couple of grand on a decent holiday, think how much cashback that’ll net you!

But, and it’s a big but, if you don’t pay off credit card debt right away, you end up being stung by high interest. And that could mean putting your dream trip on plastic proves a costly mistake. If you can’t pay off the whole amount in one go, you could box clever by opening a card with a 0% deal and transferring the debt to that. However, that’s not taking account of the balance transfer fee. Many cards charge 3% for that so if you transferred £2,000 you’d have to pay out £60 for the privilege.

So maybe sticking the holiday on a credit card is not such a good idea. In fact it’s a lousy one. The simplest and easiest way to pay for a holiday is to plan for it. You know you’re going to go away in the summer so start saving for it months ahead. In fact the best way to pay for a holiday is to have a regular savings habit into a holiday account. Work out how much you plan to spend on your breaks each year and stash a 12th of the total away each month.

That should mean that paying for trips is painless. But it does mean planning; not just planning your saving but also your spending. You know when you have big costs coming up, annual insurances or council tax for instance, as well as holidays. Your saving plan should take account of your spending needs so that you can cope with big costs without having to dip into the red or use an expensive credit card.

In other words, think about what you’re saving for in 2018. For long-term savings you want to find the best possible return on your cash, which will mean being happy about making the most of peer-to-peer opportunities, or bonds. But for short-term savings where you know you will need the cash in a matter of months, you should keep it in an account that is easy to access. That will mean sacrificing decent returns for paltry ones, but is the price you have to pay.

Sorting savings into short-term and long-term is a good way to start a sensible savings plan.

That’s especially important as it means that once you’ve accounted for all your short-term needs, for holidays and bills and so on, the rest of the cash you have available to put in a nest egg can be used to get better returns. And that will leave you laughing all the way to the river bank or beach, depending on your chosen holiday.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent specialist advice.

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

DecemberLendingImpact

In this month’s Lending Impact, we look into the past, present and future of small businesses in a Funding Circle Christmas Carol. There’s also our latest case study, where you can meet the founder of The Creative Whisky Company, and finally discover six Funding Circle businesses that will help you get in the festive spirit this year.

ChristmasCarol

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

DecemberSuccessStory
CreativeWhisky

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company. The business was set up in 2005, bottling 15 casks of whisky a year, and today bottles seven times that amount. Although the business has grown significantly, one tradition remains the same; every whisky is “nosed and tasted” by David and his business partner to make sure it’s up to scratch.

A modern Christmas: festive experiences to enjoy this year

Local businesses are moving faster than Rudolph and Blitzen to help you make the most of the festive season. From the butchers and florists, to the bakers and wine merchants, these business owners know exactly what you need to have a joyful Christmas this year. Read more here.

November’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories

In case you missed it, here’s last month’s post. We met Amy, the Director of The Strings Club, discovered the most read article by our business and community and listed five Funding Circle borrowers to prepare you for the Ashes.

Up next

At the beginning of January, we’ll publish our Insights and Analysis blog to review December’s activity, including statistics from across the platform and helpful tips to make the most of your investment.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any further suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

ISAs, Brexit, and the 2017 Budget. November industry news

Fintechs take market share from the dominant high-street banks – Financial Times

In the third quarter of this year, net lending (that’s total lending minus repayments) to small businesses through Funding Circle was higher than the entire UK banking system for the first time.* During that time, over 1,700 British businesses were able to access the finance they need to grow and thrive. This is a great demonstration of the positive impact your lending is having on the economy. Together, we’re helping businesses reach their full potential and go even further.

UK peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise millions from ISAs – Financial Times

We’re really pleased to announce that we have started rolling out our Funding Circle ISA product to existing investors. With the Funding Circle ISA, you’ll be able to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free, while supporting the backbone of the UK economy. It also takes just minutes to set up your account. You can find out more about the ISA account, and register your interest if you are not currently lending through Funding Circle, here. More information can also be found in our FAQs, and blog. If you have any questions please get in touch. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

What fax machines and floppy disks reveal about Britain’s productivity problem – The Economist

During the 20th century, productivity growth in the UK increased steadily, but in the past decade, it’s barely budged. Today, many tech companies are trying to change this by using technology, such as machine-learning and AI, which helps to speed up tasks and increase efficiency. By embracing the growing digital economy and saying goodbye to fax machines and floppy disks, businesses have the power to shake off this productivity standstill and encourage faster growth across the country.  

Budget 2017: Business jury give a thumbs up for helping hand for small firms – The Times

It’s clear that our British small businesses have a key role to play in helping to solve the productivity problem as well. If more small businesses are given the right financial support in order to invest in these new technologies, it would help them maximise their output and effectiveness. Additionally, news in the Budget that the Chancellor will bring forward the switch in business rates indexation from the retail prices index to the consumer prices index is welcome. This and the freezing of the VAT threshold at £85,000 for the next two years is a step in the right direction.

Funding Circle borrowers back joining European Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit – P2P Finance News

The Budget also revealed that a further £3 billion is being set aside for Brexit planning. As the negotiations continue, we asked thousands of small business owners for their views. More than half (57%) of business owners in the UK are supportive of joining the European Free Trade Agreement – or the ‘Norway Option’. It’s evident that this route is a priority within the business community and it’s important that we listen to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for their success. Check out our blog for the full results and read more in the Financial Times.

London’s startups stress out over Brexit—and ping pong – Bloomberg

Ping pong, the national sport of FinTech, brings together tech companies from all across London for a night of excitement, nail biting action and of course, pure glory for the winner. Not only is the event good fun, helping to build strong company morale, it also highlights the importance of access to talent post-Brexit for FinTech firms with many of the competitors coming from all over the world. At Funding Circle, 30% of our teams are non-UK European nationals, so we were pleased the government provided certainty to EU citizens living in the UK last week.

* Data taken from Bank of England ‘Bankstats (Monetary & Financial Statistics)’ – Table A8.1 ‘Monetary financial institutions’ loans to non-financial businesses, by size of business’ under ‘Net loans (exc overdrafts). Bank of England banks account for at least 75% of the lending market.

Autumn Internationals: around the world with Funding Circle borrowers

Rugby fans of the world unite. It’s a long time since a school boy with “a fine disregard for the rules of football” picked up the ball and ran, and the global game is as exciting as ever. Now the Autumn Internationals are in full swing (low, sweet chariot….) we’ve made a list of 4 Funding Circle borrowers to celebrate the coming together of rugby playing nations from around the world. Thanks to investors like you these businesses have been able to grow and prosper.

Eat authentic Argentinian in London

Established in 2007, Buenos Aires has 5 steakhouses in London and the South East which represent Argentina with ‘passion and pride.’ The restaurant serves traditional Argentine cuisine, including meat straight from Las Pampas cooked on an authentic barbecue. They borrowed £80,000 back in 2014 to open a new site in Richmond. Everything you need to be fighting fit to watch a Pumas game!

Sushi

Taste the Orient in Newcastle

Save the airfare and sample hundreds of Japanese dishes at St Sushi in Newcastle City Centre. Dishes range from soup noodles to bento boxes and everything in between. The toon’s favourite sushi spot opened in 2006, and recently borrowed £106,000 to refurbish. Healthy and delicious, it’s tastier than a Japanese World Cup run.

Indulge in an Italian in Windsor

The Quagliozzi family  have been serving fresh and delicious dishes from their native Naples since 2009. They now have 4 restaurants for you to choose from including Viva L’Italia and the Italian Steakhouse. Book a table and talk tactics with your nearest and dearest while enjoying some superb spaghetti. More than 800 investors, like you, have helped the family business open a new Italian supermarket too!

wine

Stock up on South African Sauvignon Blanc

According to the Cambridge Wine Merchants, who borrowed over £200,000 to expand, white wines from South Africa are fast overtaking reds in terms of international respect. Stock up on wines to watch the Springboks this Autumn from one of their 7 shops in Cambridgeshire or buy online. Started in 1993, they’ve won ‘Merchant of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge (the world’s biggest wine competition) and three times been voted the UK’s No. 1 Independent Drinks Retailer. If you’re South African, maybe get an extra bottle to help forget the defeat to Ireland.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 72,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 29,000 UK businesses have accessed finance through Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

How do small business owners feel about Brexit?

During the summer, we spoke to more than 1,325 small business owners to canvass their views on the impact of the recent election and ongoing Brexit negotiations. What we found was that more than two-thirds of small businesses that import goods and services expect costs to increase when Britain leaves the European Union.

When we asked owners specifically about the expected cost increase, importing small businesses told us that they expect their average costs to increase by £5,300 per month resulting in £60,000 per year of extra spending. With 214,300 small businesses currently importing goods or services in the UK, the potential impact is vast at a local and national level.

Of course, Brexit negotiations have only really just begun, so it’s still tricky to know exactly what the impact our our exit from the EU will be. What is clear is that investors lending directly to small businesses is incredibly important to our nation’s prosperity. In the UK, small businesses account for 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment, so your support for them is crucial!

The results weren’t all doom and gloom, however, as the majority of businesses we spoke to expect to hire at least one new member of staff over the next year. Business owners were also pleased to state that they think the general election result will soften our EU exit strategy – which the majority think will be good for their business operations.

Investors at Funding Circle include 60,000 individuals, local and national government, the European Investment Bank and financial institutions such as pension funds. By opening up small business lending to a wide range of investors, Funding Circle has improved competition in the market, supported job creation and reduced small business dependency on bank lending.

To date investors have lent £2.5 billion to more than 25,000 UK small businesses. Businesses funded through the platform typically access the capital they need in days, and independent research found that 94% of businesses would come back to Funding Circle first in future.

If you’re a small business looking for finance, visit our website to check if you qualify in just 30 seconds.

Seven ideas to help you stay active this summer

Hello summer! Longer days means more time to get outside and try new activities. With Wimbledon kicking off next week, we wanted to share some of our favourite ways to get fit this summer, featuring businesses who specialise in keeping people active. So come along and join us on our journey across the UK as we visit some of these extraordinary companies who have flourished thanks to your support.

1. Canoeing in Scotland

Our journey begins in idyllic Scotland at an events and bespoke travel company that will help you kick-start your active summer. Sporting Scotland is run by a team of adventurous individuals who run a number of different activities including canoeing and sea kayaking down two of Scotland’s most exciting rivers, the River Spey and the River Findhorn. Both routes offer a spectacular chance to explore stunning beaches, coves, islands and cliffs. In order to refurbish their premises, Sporting Scotland borrowed over £30,000 through the Funding Circle platform in April 2017.

2. Cycling in Rugeley

If you’re an avid cyclist then our next stop is for you! Based in Rugeley, More Adventure provides high quality cycling challenges and holidays in various locations across the world. We suggest the 10 day ride from Lands End to John O’Groats – from one end of the UK to another. Nearly 1,000 miles in total, you’ll be travelling through some of the most glorious scenery England and Scotland has to offer. To help expand and explore new products, More Adventure have borrowed finance across two loans since November 2014.

3. Horseback riding in Shropshire

From Rugeley we’re heading West to stunning Shropshire to visit Live the Adventure and test our skills at horseback riding. From instructional treks for the beginners, to four day trail rides for those with a real sense of adventure, the Live the Adventure team can offer packages to suit any rider. To  develop more professional training programs the team turned to Funding Circle in 2014 and were able to secure a cash injection for their business.  

4. Golfing in Gloucestershire

Love golf? Then you’ll love the next stop on our trip across the UK. Sherdons Golf Centre, a family-run business in the Gloucestershire countryside welcomes golfers of all abilities. The centre boasts a 9 hole course as well as a clubhouse with banqueting and bar facilities – a great way to finish a long day on the course. The team at Sherdon’s were able to exercise their long-term marketing plan after borrowing finance from 474 investors in 2013.

5. Hot yoga in Bristol

The next business to visit on our journey is Yogafurie in beautiful Bristol, a hot yoga and pilates studio. Hot yoga is said to improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the body which in turn fuels the mind – it’s a true full body workout. The team of superb teachers offer a range of different classes for all abilities. You could even join a teacher training or workshop if you’re a truly passionate yogi. Yogafurie was able to open a new space after borrowing £20,000 through Funding Circle.

6. Cricket in Hampshire

Next stop: Hampshire countryside. At Funding Circle, we love team sports, which is why we’re challenging you to set up your own cricket match! Don’t have the supplies? Take a trip to Chase Cricket for all of your equipment needs. Since 1996, the enthusiastic Chase Cricket team have been designing and handcrafting the very finest cricket bats for young and old in all levels of the game. To add a sales and marketing specialist to their team, Chase Cricket accessed finance from Funding Circle investors in April 2016.

7. Kitesurfing in Brighton

Our journey across the country ends in delightful Brighton where watersport lovers congregate in the summer. The Kite, Surf & Sup Company is a British Kitesports school and online shop set up in 2014. Founder Christine Johnston is a former windsurfing World Champion so her skills and expertise shines through in all of the lessons she teaches. To help increase stock and upgrade their website to help with online marketing, the kitesurfing company has borrowed finance across two loans from 127 investors.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 62,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 25,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Your June Review – Insight and Analysis

Your June Review
Summer has arrived, and it’s been another exciting month. We’ve been given full authorisation from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority – another step forward to offering industry-leading, tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA, which we plan to launch later this year. You can read the full story in this article.

Also included in this month’s post, personal finance expert Simon Read looks at what the record level of inflation in the UK could mean for you and what you can do about it. Dive in below.

May lending figures
Last month, you and other investors helped businesses to take new opportunities, create new jobs and drive energy into the UK economy — thank you for your continued support!

June review
Remember, your actual return may be higher or lower as your capital is at risk.

Monthly trends
These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

You’ve helped more than 8,500 small businesses access finance in the last 6 months…

June number of loans

Totalling over £610 million lent

June amount of loans

May 2017 sector breakdown

Amount lent to each sector

Business sectors

May 2017 regional breakdown

Amount lent to each UK region

June business regions

Making the most of your investment

May Industry News

The Times looks at a variety of different apps to help make your money work harder, from keeping track of your spending to monitoring investments. Read about this and more in our round-up of last month’s industry news.

What does rising inflation mean for your money?

With inflation in the UK at a four-year high, personal finance expert Simon Read looks at what this could mean for you and what you can do about it in his latest blog.

Loans defaulted last week
As part of lending to businesses, a small percentage will not be able to fully repay their loan. This is known as bad debt and is a normal part of business lending. We believe diversification, where you lend no more than 1% of your total to each business, is the best way to reduce the impact this has on your return. You can diversify automatically using our Autobid tool.

Each week, we publish a list of the loans being defaulted on the Customer support section of our website under ‘Announcements.’ To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 1st June 2017.  For further information on why Funding Circle defaults loans you can read our FAQ here.

Collections and recoveries

How it works

You can also read more about how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Up next in June, we’ll be looking at the impact your lending is having on the UK economy and bringing to life some of the businesses you’ve helped access finance.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any further suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

*The current estimated return is a weighted estimate of the annual return after fees and bad debts that investors could earn from lending money to businesses seeking loans today. It is calculated by taking the gross interest rate less fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future for each of the last 3000 loans accepted on the marketplace. The average return is weighted by loan amount, compounded and before tax. The return is updated daily. See the full calculation here.

This blog is a general summary, and should not replace financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.

A quiet crash in bank lending? March industry news

A quiet crash in big bank lending?

Bank of England statistics reveal that since the EU referendum, net lending (that’s total lending minus repayments) to British small businesses by 22 of the largest banks dropped from £1 billion in the second quarter of 2016, down to just £220 million in the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, Funding Circle investors lent £167 million on a net basis in Q4 alone! This is a great demonstration of the huge value your lending is having on the UK economy.

Bank said no, but I didn’t lose my sense of hummus

Helen Smith, founder of Glogg and one of Funding Circle’s many great borrowers, shares her company’s success story and experience of using direct lending for growth finance in The Times. When Glastonbury needed a business to produce 200,000 stainless steel pint cups for last year’s festival, Glogg stepped up to the challenge. Turning to Funding Circle for support, Helen was able to secure funding from hundreds of investors and the project was a huge success. Read the full story on our blog.

They came, they saw, they disrupted

It was also great to see Samir Desai, Funding Circle CEO, featured in the The Sunday Times Maserati 100 list, which recognises influential entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world. In it’s third year, the award took a new approach and focused on celebrating the beneficial impact that these individuals are having on the economy. This type of recognition is only possible because of the continued support we receive from our customers on both sides of the platform so thank you!

The best places to put your cash if you want to beat inflation

With inflation on the rise, an article in This is Money explores a few tricks to help make your spare cash work harder. By considering these options, such as direct lending or investing in stocks and shares, you don’t have to leave your money in a cash Isa that loses value over time. Read more about direct lending and how you could earn stable, attractive returns by lending to small businesses – but remember, when you lend, your capital it at risk.

Read between the lines: New tax year, new tax planning

Speaking of financial planning, personal finance expert and former editor at The Independent Simon Read, gives his advice on how to approach financial decisions in our new blog series ‘Read between the lines’. When planning for the new tax year, Simon encourages investors to be proactive and start the process as early in the year as possible so that there’s plenty of time to take any potential changes into account. To learn about what the recent Spring Budget means for you, check out this video on our blog.

Funding Circle secures $100M investment from CIM

And finally, our US business announced that Community Investment Management, an impact investment firm focused on direct lending, is now lending an additional $100 million to American small businesses. This exciting agreement gives even more businesses the opportunity to access the finance they need, which in turn encourages job creation and economic growth in local communities across the United States.